Frank Lampard has almost made it to the halfway point of the 2022-23 Premier League campaign – the same point at which his predecessor Rafael Benitez was sacked.
Benitez wasn’t an especially popular appointment at Goodison Park, given his history of managing their Merseyside rivals Liverpool.
But the early signs of his tenure were promising. They made a fantastic start to the 2021-22 campaign, winning four of their first six matches before drawing 1-1 away at Manchester United. At that point, Benitez’s Toffees were up in the European places.
However, things took a sharp and sudden downturn from that point onwards. They won just one of their following 12 matches, losing nine, which left them hurtling towards the relegation zone. A 5-2 defeat at Watford, a 4-1 loss in the Merseyside derby and a 3-2 home defeat to Brighton were particular causes for concern.
A 2-1 defeat to relegation battlers Norwich proved to be the final straw, with unrest among the fans reaching boiling point. Benitez was sacked, with Everton sitting 16th, having taken 19 points from 19 games – and a six-point cushion over the relegation zone.
“We knew it wouldn’t be easy,” Benitez said following his departure a year ago.
“It was a big challenge, both emotionally and in terms of sport. My love for this city, for Merseyside and its people, made me accept this challenge, but it is only when you are inside that you realise the magnitude of the task.
“From the very first day, my staff and myself worked as we always do, with commitment and full dedication. We didn’t only have to get results, but we also had to win over people’s hearts.
“However, the financial situation and then the injuries that followed made things even harder.”
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Successor Lampard struggled to make an immediate impact, and under his tenure Everton found themselves pulled further into a relegation scrap, even falling into the bottom three at times in the Spring.
But they rallied and their late-season form was enough to pull themselves up to an eventual sixteenth-place finish, four points above the drop zone. Lampard, who had played under Benitez at Chelsea, led Everton to vital wins over Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester United, Chelsea, Leicester City and Crystal Palace.
However, in his first full season in charge, the 44-year-old coach has failed to build on those results. Everton find themselves in a worse position compared to the same stage last season, and appear to be circling the plughole after managing just one win (and seven defeats) from their last 10 Premier League outings.
“Since I have been here we have been in this situation of a relegation battle, last year and through this season. It is not a case of fear [for my job], it is a case of keep working. I cannot control the talk or the decisions when you are around this area of the table. This is what happens,” said Lampard after a 4-1 home defeat to Brighton.
We’ve taken a look at how Lampard’s Everton in 2022-23 so far compare to Benitez’s Everton at the same stage last season.
Games Played: 18
Goals Scored: 14
Goals Conceded: 24
Expected Goals: 18.5
Expected Goals Against: 30.1
Carabao Cup Performance: Third Round (beat Fleetwood 1-0, lost 4-1 to Bournemouth)
Games Played: 18
Goals Scored: 23
Goals Conceded: 32
Expected Goals: 24.4
Expected Goals Against: 29.6
Carabao Cup Performance: Third Round (beat Huddersfield 2-1, lost on penalties to QPR)
FA Cup Performance: Third Round – Beat Hull City 3-2 (AET), sacked before following round
The article Comparing Lampard’s Everton to the same stage under Benitez last term appeared first on Planetfootball.com.